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Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts)
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Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD]
Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD]
Dvd ~ Fan Liao
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow but stylish Chinese noir, 1 July 2015
This review is from: Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Decent little murder mystery – it’s too slow to call it a thriller exactly – from Chinese writer-director Diao Yi’nan, about an ex-cop still traumatised by a shooting he witnessed five years before, while investigating a serial killer who’d been leaving chopped-up body parts in piles of coal. Flash forward and he’s now a security guard at a coal factory – divorced, drunk and a bit of a loser – where the body parts keep surfacing and his obsession with the old case rekindles; his subsequent on-the-sides investigation brings him into contact with one of the victim’s widows - a suspect in her own right - with whom he becomes dangerously obsessed. Slow but stylish, with some excellent set pieces, especially the excellent shootout scene filmed in long-shot. Hardly revelatory but way-above-average and you can see why it won the Golden Bear at Berlin. Recommended.


Whiskas Cat Care and Treats Dentabites Chicken 50g (Pack of 8)
Whiskas Cat Care and Treats Dentabites Chicken 50g (Pack of 8)
Price: £11.04

3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but doesn't hold a candle to her Whiskas Temptations!, 30 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Got these because my cat totally adores Whiskas Temptations (chicken & cheese flavour particularly)... really loves them. I thought she might like these too, plus they're supposedly good for teeth, so it would be a healthier option. She has been eating them OK, but with nowhere near so much relish as the Temptations... she certainly doesn't come running for them and keeps shooting me a mildly disapproving look when I set the dish down. I prefer the Temptations packaging too; easier to close and allows you to 'rattle' the biscuits when you want the cat to suddenly make an appearance.


Gourmet Mon Petit Indulgent New Meat Recipes with Game Liver and Beef Wet Cat Food (Pack of 8)
Gourmet Mon Petit Indulgent New Meat Recipes with Game Liver and Beef Wet Cat Food (Pack of 8)
Price: £15.92

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half portions in gravy, basically: perfect for fussy cats who like a wet/dry mix, 24 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My cat is a fussy little thing – we’ve arrived at system whereby she has a dish of dry (Purina, Iams), topped up throughout the day as required, plus half a pouch of Sheeba wet in the morning, and then the other half at night (it goes in the fridge in the interim). She will only eat wet food that’s gravy – not jelly. And even then she will just lick the gravy off most makes. For her it’s more of a side dish than anything else. So I was surprised to see that she has been eating this stuff with as much if not more vigour than her usual Sheeba- maybe she just likes the variety, dunno. Anyway, good gravy content- that’s her main concern. Also the chunks of meat are smaller and look more tenderized looking than the Sheeba. For us, the small portion size (50g) works OK because we can give her a whole one first thing and then another whole one later, instead of splitting one 85g Sheeba two ways. Remember, this is in addition to a dish of dry. It also means more variety throughout the day because you can switch around flavours (offered here are Liver/Game/Beef). I can see that for cats who only have wet food this might be an expensive option (the price stated here works out as £6.63 / kg, whereas for a big box of Sheeba pouches it’s £4.71 / kg)... but for those who mix dry and wet like us, these are ideal. I will probably end up switching to these, which is the ultimate seal of approval when your cat's as fussy as mine. Also, if your cat grazes rather than wolfs it down in one go, like mine, then these are a good option to ensure there isn't much wet food lying around uneaten in the day, attracting flies (a problem in the summer I've found).


A Companion to Michael Haneke (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Film Directors)
A Companion to Michael Haneke (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Film Directors)
by Roy Grundmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitive collection of essays covering Haneke's body of work, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A beast of a book: big and heavy and adorned with a photo of Haneke on the cover, staring deep into your soul. 600+ pages covering more or less every aspect of Haneke’s career to date through a generous and diverse collection of 32 (newly-commissioned) essays by scholars from a range of disciplines, judiciously edited by Roy Grundmann, whose own introductory essay, a comprehensive presentation of Haneke’s entire oeuvre, is perhaps the best thing here. Essays tackle individual films or themes that have formed the nucleus of the Haneke’s works such as the fate of European cinema, Hollywood, pornography, alienation, colonialism (notably France’s fraught relationship with immigration), melodrama, surveillance and so forth. There are also straighter-down-the-middle discussions about Haneke’s narrative and stylistic achievements, such as use of video imagery and some interesting critical examinations of his most important films, Time of the Wolf and Caché among them. Also included are two older pieces written by Haneke himself; the first about his first experiences as a young boy of the power and allure of cinema, and his own views on, and tastes in, films (especially those of Bresson) plus a less interesting piece on violence in media. These two pieces by him are then followed by two interviews with Haneke, one discussing The White Ribbon. Categorically not for the casual fan but richly rewarding for scholars and film students wishing to go deep, deep, deep inside the Haneke canon.


BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE
BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE
Price: £84.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality baby carrier but lacks an 'outward-facing option', 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We exclusively transported both our babies with Baby Bjorn carriers; they're so much quicker and more convenient than prams, especially for quick trips, negotiating stairs and going in and out of shops. Best £100-odd on baby paraphernalia you will ever spend IMHO. Somewhat confusingly though, the company currently produce 4 models: the no-frills 'Original' (which I've had, and does the job just fine), the 'Miracle' (which I've also had and is particularly excellent in terms of back-support), the 'One' (never had) and this one, the 'We' (the 'Active' is, I think, discontinued or headed that way). All 4 perform essentially the same function but there are small differences that may inform which one you plump for. From what I can tell, the 'We' falls between two posts in that it lacks an 'outward-facing option' (more of which later) but it has a few extra features that the cheaper Original and Miracles don't have, namely: 1) the option to place your child on your back; 2) the ability to roll it up when not in use; 3) the front part of the baby carrier opens up it situ to enable you to lift your child out quickly and easily without having to detach the whole thing (v.useful for removing sleeping babies without waking them). None of these 'extras' are to be sniffed at but I'd say it's #1 which is most important because it means you can transport from newborn all the way up to 3 years, whereas the cheaper models only go up to 18 months-odd. Having said that, I'm guessing most kids 2+ are going to be prohibitively heavy for many people. Also, there are designated, heavier-duty back-carrying devices that are more suitable for going for a walk with an older toddler in-tow (I've got and can recommend the Littlelife Freedom Child Carrier). Nevertheless the option to have the baby on your back is there and I can see the use for that. But the 'We' lacks an important option that all three other models do have: the 'Outward-facing option' i.e. the option to have your child strapped to your front but facing outward; after about 5 months, this was the main way we transported our kids, and it worked very well because they can discovering the world around them while safely resting against your chest. I personally wouldn't want to lose that aspect. If you feel similarly, I'd recommend forking out an extra £30 to get the 'One' model (which also opens up at the front and fold-away) or, spend a tenner less on the 'Miracle' and then also get a proper Child Carrier a couple of years down the line if you do a lot of off-road trekking that really merits it.


Quicksand
Quicksand
by Steve Toltz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super-dark Aussie comedy chronicling the vicissitudes of an unlucky pair of Brothers-in-Arms, 9 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Quicksand (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Darker-than-dark comedy chronicling the ups and (mostly) downs of a pair of lifelong friends - perennially `blocked' writer-come-unlikely police officer Liam and the man who has since childhood been his muse and whose life story he is writing; the inventive, doomed recidivist Aldo- fresh out of prison and newly wheelchair bound. The book unfolds as a series of anecdotes, basically, rendered through the novel Liam is writing, police transcripts and the rest, all set on explaining where precisely things went awry for Aldo, whose story Liam shapes into something terribly tragic but also extremely funny novel, albeit funny in the most blackly comic sense imaginable. An awesome novel and a wonderful written account of the everyday absurdities but also, ultimately, a very affecting take on the male friendship.


Landscapes of Communism: A History Through Buildings
Landscapes of Communism: A History Through Buildings
by Owen Hatherley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly but readbale tour of architecture behind the Iron Curtain, 9 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wasn’t familiar with Owen Hatherley’s other works of architectural/cultural commendatory but was drawn to this because I studied the role of fascist vernacular architecture at uni and found the whole notion of art and architecture as having a politically expressive function really fascinating – the bombastic monumentalism of Albert Speer et al… I’d never thought of buildings as weapons before. So I was interested to read an account looking at Communism through its cityscapes, and it proves here in respect of this tour of architecture behind the Iron Curtain – 500+ pages of political, and architectural Soviet history basically. Although highly readable, it’s a bit of a slog at times, certainly not breezy, and I would have liked more photographs, but there’s no denying the erudition here as the author looks for relevant meanings in architecture and places designed to express the aspirations of revolutionary and modernist Russia, with especially interesting accounts of Soviet social engineering through its housing estates and latterly, gentrification in ex-Soviet bloc countries.


Philips HR2162/91 Viva Collection Blender, 600 Watt, 2 Litre
Philips HR2162/91 Viva Collection Blender, 600 Watt, 2 Litre
Price: £49.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for smoothies but too small for big batches of soup etc., 9 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good for smoothies, but doesn't really hold enough liquid for soup for the whole family so I had to do it in two batches. I am used to a hand held blender which I prefer to be honest as it is better for making breadcrumbs and pastes.


Playmags Clear Colors Magnetic Tiles Deluxe Building Set with Car (100-Piece)
Playmags Clear Colors Magnetic Tiles Deluxe Building Set with Car (100-Piece)
Price: £80.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but excellent, especially for slightly older kids, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really not sure this is worth the £80 being asked let alone the £110 RRP, especially for only 100 pieces, but this is unquestionably a brilliant toy and functions on a number of levels, from creating very basic 2D polygons through to larger, intricate 3D structures using any number of combinations of geometric shapes (equilateral and isosceles triangles, squares, rectangles etc.). The magnets which allow shapes to connect are strong enough, but not excessively so... meaning a lightness of touch is required that will escape smaller children, but that adds a degree of excitement too, like building a house of cards... the need for a steady hand and some patience. So possibly better suited to older (5+) kids, although you can still have fun in two dimensions and with smaller structures, especially by building on the car base with wheels to make little vehicles etc.


Osomount 360 Flex Universal In-Car Dashboard Windscreen Mount Holder for Smartphones
Osomount 360 Flex Universal In-Car Dashboard Windscreen Mount Holder for Smartphones
Offered by Zero 50 Retail Ltd
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It really sucks, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent in-car mount for smartphones; the U-Grip jaws allow holding any device up to 3.5” which makes it pretty much universal and negates the need to remove cases. My old HTC Desire is comparatively small by today’s standards but it gripped nice and tight and doesn’t let go. The suction cup is different to most – it’s got a weird sticky coating which allows for mounting on a curved and/or textured dash, although I’ve opted for the windscreen. It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon – absolutely rock solid suction. It’s extremely easy to unmount, too- there’s a suction lever to lift and then it peels off without a struggle. If you do opt for the dash, beware, on the FAQ section on the Osomount website they warn that “in very rare circumstances suck the dashboard upwards hence leaving a mark after removing the mount”, easily avoided either by removing and re-positioning every few weeks or else using the little circular protective 3M disc included (which physically sticks to the dashboard and creates a permanent mounting area). Probably should have said this on the box, I had to check the site... in fact, there are no instructions included at all. Wherever you position it, it’s easy to find the perfect angle; because the arm swivels almost 180 degrees and head swivels 360 degrees… so horizontal, vertical or even diagonal positioning all possible. Chuck a 2 year guarantee into the mix and I really cannot find any fault whatsoever.


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